Tae Kwon Do for Self-Defense


Little boy make karate exercises

Many people begin tae kwon do and other martial arts to learn how to protect themselves from becoming the victim of a violent crime or offense.  Whether it’s bullying, a mugging, or an argument gone awry, the absolute best way to protect yourself is to not become a victim in the first place.   When bullies or criminals select their victims, they look for individuals that look like easy targets.  The ideal targets for a bully or criminal are those who appear to be shy or timid, are not paying attention and can be taken off-guard, and those who appear to be easily intimidated.

To minimize your chances of becoming a victim of bullying or a violent crime, here are some basic tips that can keep you from ever having to use martial arts to defend yourself.

  1. Use Confident Body Language

When walking in school or on the street, show confidence.  Look like you know exactly where you are going, and walk with purpose.  By walking with your head up, shoulders back, a straight spine, hands out of your pockets, and strong walking stride, you are letting others know that you are a confident individual not to be messed with!

  1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

As you walk, stay off your iPhone and pay attention to your surroundings. Who is walking around you?  What do they look like?  Are there areas where individuals can easily hide?  In the case of violent crimes, criminals don’t want to be identified.  By making it apparent that you are actively paying attention to what is around you, you significantly decrease your chances of becoming a criminal’s next target.

  1. De-escalate the Situation

Non-violence is always the best way to handle any conflict.  As a martial artist, if you find yourself in a heated dispute that you feel may become violent, you have the moral obligation to try and de-escalate or defuse the situation.  With open palms and hands clearly visible, slowly back away from the aggressor as you speak to him/her in a softer, calmer, and non-threatening voice.  This typically helps all parties calm down.  However, in the event of continued aggression by the other party, as you talk and create greater distance between you and the other individual, survey your surroundings, and maintain your balance at all times.

If it becomes apparent that all forms of diplomacy have failed, and you need to physically defend yourself, here are a few tips to help better protect yourself.

  1. Act Only in Self-Defense – NEVER START THE FIGHT!

As a martial artist, not only do you have the moral obligation to refrain from using your skills unless absolutely necessary, you are also held at a higher level of accountability in the eyes of the law.  If you find yourself in a situation where you may have to engage in a physical altercation, using both body language and words, make it absolutely clear to everyone witnessing the situation that you do NOT want to fight.  Most importantly, never throw the first kick or punch.  Act ONLY in self-defense.

  1. Keep Your Balance and Focus on Key Areas of Vulnerability

As a tae kwon do martial artist, the safest place for you to be is on your feet.  Strong stances and footwork are key to maintaining your balance.  As you move, continue to stay aware of your surroundings, and block and strike with commitment. Remember to focus on the key areas of vulnerability:  Flat of the forehead, temple, eyes, nose, throat/jugular, solar plexus, lower ribs, groin, and feet. By focusing on these areas, you increase your chances of ending the fight sooner, and successfully protecting yourself.


January is National Self-Defense Month

To learn more about techniques you can use to help defend yourself, we will be holding a special Self Defense Seminar for Teens and Adults on January 31, 2016.  This event is open to the public. No experience is necessary.  For more information, contact Events@eastwesttkd.com.